Monday, May 30, 2022
Sunday, May 29, 2022
I could not think of any more fitting words than those of Abraham Lincoln delivered at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863 memorializing the fallen soldiers. It is so appropirate for today's Memorial Day Remembrance.Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Saturday, May 28, 2022
There are also those who go without remembrance even though they gave their lives, not voluntarily, but because others just had to shoot, bomb, and kill. We don't know many of their names, but I'm pretty sure my grandfather did.
My Memorial Day remembrance is for the horses and mules who were absolutely essential to and died because of war. WWI. My grandfather was a veterinarian in the Expeditionary Forces in France. This is what he recalled (loosely interpreted by me).
In 1916, I was still a young buck and not yet married, so I signed up with Black Jack Pershing to go after Pancho Villa. Ol’ Pancho and his banditos had come into US territory and killed a bunch of folks in Columbus, New Mexico.
I was really good with horses, so soon I was the veterinarian. This was just as well, as I didn’t take well to using a gun. I’d never studied vetting in school, but I’d grown up on a farm in Nebraska and knew just about all there was to know about horses and mules. We chased Pancho and his gang just about all over Mexico but never did catch up with him. A couple years later, I was still in the service, so I ended up goin’ to France with Black Jack when he got to be a General. I could have decided not to go as I’d done my time, but I knew Black Jack could put me to good use.
We were on the troopship for weeks. Everybody was seasick for the first few days. The horses seemed to fare fine in that regard, but I was worried we couldn’t exercise them enough. We brought them up from the hold, a few at a time, and let them stretch their legs. We’d lead them in a quick walk around the deck. With the metal decks, we didn’t want them to move very fast for fear they’d slip and fall. I’d hate to have to put down a horse with a broken leg, so we took it real easy. As a result, the horses were not in good fightin’ shape by the time we landed in France.
It took some time, but me and Joe, who got assigned to be my assistant, got them in shape again. Mostly the horses were used to pack gear, but a few officers still rode them. Black Jack Pershing liked to ride on occasion, as did Captain Patton. I thought we should only have mules since they make better pack animals than horses, but there were never enough mules to go around.
We weren’t in too many battles directly as we were the supply line for the army, but in 1918 it turned pretty bad when we went into the Argonne Forest. They called this an ‘offensive.’ I can see why as it offended me a lot. The fighting went on for nearly two months and only ended in November when the big guys signed the Treaty at Versailles.
In that short two months, it was hell on earth. Thousands of men died. One whole division, the 77th, was cut off for near a week and held out surrounded by the German forces. It was some battle, I can tell you. Almost all day long, I could hear the shells bursting and the sharp reports of rifle fire. And I heard the screams of dying men and horses.
The worst part for me was the horses being swept up in the middle of the battle. It broke my heart to go out on the fields after the fighting passed by and after the dead and wounded men were collected. Sometimes the ground was so soaked with blood that my boots were covered before I got back. A horse with an artery torn open bleeds gallons of blood; men only a few pints. It angered me when I thought how much the horses gave. They didn’t even have a say in goin’ to war. Men, at least, had a choice.
I carried a sidearm and had to shoot more horses than I can count. Those we could save, we’d bring back to the line and see if we could treat their wounds. It was a second heartbreak when they wouldn’t heal proper and we’d take them out behind the tents to put them down. We dug a deep trench to bury them for health reasons and we kept digging every day to hold them all.
While we treated the horses, close by we could see the wounded men being brought back from the battlefield. Legs and arms were already gone or had to be cut off by the doctors right there in the field. From the history I’d read about the Civil War, this was just about as bad. If the choice was amputate or die, then they had to do what was necessary. We dug another trench to hold the arms and legs the doctors cut off; the dead soldiers we wrapped in oilcloth to be sent back behind the lines, where we hoped to send their bodies back home to their families.
All told I spent twenty months in France. It was the worst part of my life and I hoped and prayed we’d never see another war like this again.
Friday, May 27, 2022
He was in Intelligence, which meant he spent his time listening to communications between the Viet Cong who were already fighting with South Vietnam for the unification of the country into a single Vietnam under the Communist party. Heaven forbid the US would allow people to choose their own system of government.
Anyway, the US was listening in while only a few "advisers" were on the ground in South Vietnam busily trying to prop up the puppet government.
The result: Millions of Vietnamese dead--soldiers, fathers, mothers, sons, brothers, sisters. More than 58,000 American dead. And none of the killing did anything useful at all.
Nevertheless, whether the fighting and deaths were senseless or not, US military put their lives on the line and many died. That's why we salute Veterans. They did all that was asked of them and did it well, but the war was never going to change Vietnam unification. Vets are not saluted for winning, but for giving their all for their countries. This they did with honor.
In honor of all vets from all wars, I hope you'll give the gift of Tales of a Texas Boy to a veteran you love from Amazon.
Amazon Kindle Ebook
Large Print Paperback
Audio Book free if chosen as the first book when joining audible.com
How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.
Friday, May 06, 2022
These are stories about my father. He's passed now, but he took great pleasure reading his almost true tall tales. I think you'll enjoy them too. The descriptions of stories below are of particular interest to mothers.
Here are the buy links:
Large Print Paperback Amazon $9.99
Ebook: Kindle Ebook
Smashwords EPUB/MOBI Name your own price as low as 99 cents.
Here are a few of the twenty-one stories included in the book.
WHEN I WAS a boy, my Ma was a woman of few words, which surprised quite a few folks. The town ladies came out to visit on occasion and she’d go to town to return the favor, but mostly she listened. That did set her apart from the gossipers and them that just liked to talk to hear themselves.
IT’D BEEN RAINING forty days and forty nights is what Ma said, but I only counted up eleven days myself. She did tend to put things in Bible sayin’s, so I won’t say she was lyin’, just exaggeratin’ for effect.
IT ALWAYS MEANS a good time when Pa lets me go with him in the truck. I liked the truck a lot and sometimes he’d let me drive a ways, too. This time, Pa planned on goin’ further than Hereford. We were goin’ to go to Amarillo, the trip some fifty miles. It would take us most of one day to get there and do what we needed to do, so we’d have to camp overnight somewhere along the way.
Most animals on the farm were there for a purpose, rarely as pets. That meant that animals were not allowed in the house like they are today. If they got in, however, it wasn’t always easy to get them out again.
WHEN I WAS just a little kid, no more’n seven if I remember rightly, I was down in the chicken yard tossin’ grain like I was tol’. This one little red hen started followin’ me around instead of peckin’ up the grain like the other chickens. I thought it strange, but just went about my business.
Wednesday, May 04, 2022
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's taken a good chunk of my reading time to work through Mark Twain's complete novels. Whew!
I thought I'd already covered Twain's works through college, but there are a couple of books here I never heard of before (The Horses Tale, for one) and a couple I thought I had read, but apparently did not.
If you've enjoyed any of Twain's books, including the two great American Novels, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, then you're RIPE to read some more. Some of the novels are fairly brief so you can tuck one in among your other book selections. That's one reason it took me such a long time to read. I finished a few other books along the way.
I can't possibly sort and winnow the best since, hey it's Twain! If you don't think you'd like Twain, give this a try anyway. You might become a fan and you've not wasted much time.
A lot of Twain's opinions are seriously gobsmacking and about 100 years ahead of the rest of us slowpokes. I thought "Puddn'head Wilson" was a kid's story, but was totally surprised by the view it gives us of race relations. The unfairness of it all and the recognition that many things have not changed is unsettling, to say the least.
I'll just finish up "Connecticut Yankee" and I'll be done with this book. It has a lot in it I didn't recognize when I read it in my teens. Now about all those short stories. I'll bet there's a whole raftload I need to read. I'll bet I can get a freebie from Project Gutenberg. Sam won't mind. He's dead and doesn't need the money.
You thought you knew Samuel Clemons' work? Maybe you don't know it as well as you thought.
View all my reviews
Monday, May 02, 2022
Shepherd Books is a site for authors to tout their works, but it adds a bit of pizzazz to it by having each author recommend five books in a category they make up themselves. There are quite a few cross-over lists that are shown after the Author's List so it spreads like kudzu. Book after book is recommended by the authors and they tell you why they liked it. The reviews are brief, so it's not too much of a pain to jump from one list to another browsing for something that appeals to your inner reader.
Here's my page on Shepherd Books and a shot of the first page. I'm promoting my fantasy series, The Witches of Galdorheim. My list's title is "The Best Books that Combine Magic with the Mundane."
Note the paperback (525 pages) is listed on the Shepherd page. The e-book is much less expensive and is also a Kindle Unlimited book, which is free if you subscribe to the KU program.
Here's the first page of the list of my recommended books. Click through to see all my recommendations PLUS a bunch of Closely Related Book Lists, such as "The Best Books of Protagonists Coming of Age While Facing Seemingly Insurmountable Challenges." Whoo. That's a mouthful. You'll find yourself gleefully going down the rabbit hole finding book after book you'd love to read.Note that all the books featured on Shepherd are available at bookshop.org. My books are all there as well: Marva Dasef on Bookshop.org.